Hon. John Thornton (Ret.) is our latest Featured Speaker!

Our latest featured speaker is Hon. John Thornton (Ret.) from JAMS!

Recently retired Judge John Thornton is speaking at our upcoming 13th Annual Circuit Court Boot Camp, which is scheduled for May 21 and 23, 2024.  Judge Thornton will be commenting throughout Part 2, on May 23rd. If you are interested in attending the program, you can register at the link above. You can also view it OnDemand or order a Recorded Package download at the same link.

At this program attendees will learn everything from complaint strategies to depos and discovery, to case management conferences, motions, and the pre-trial tasks that occur before you are in trial (or settle).

John W. Thornton, Jr., Retired Judge 11th Judicial Circuit, joins JAMS after serving for more than 12 years in the civil, criminal and circuit court appellate divisions. Mr. Thornton headed the complex business litigation division for five years, including four years as the International Commercial Arbitration Division judge. He has presided over more than 100 jury trials. During his time on the bench, Mr. Thornton handled a range of complex matters involving commercial and contractual disputes, class actions, insurance, real estate, construction, health care, professional malpractice, personal injury and complex business law.

Before his appointment to the circuit court in 2007, Mr. Thornton was in private practice, where he was a founding partner of Thornton & Rothman, P.A., a Miami-based defense firm, where he represented individual and institutional clients, including the University of Miami and the Archdiocese of Miami. One of Florida’s first board-certified criminal trial lawyers, he tried to verdict more than 100 jury trials. Prior to establishing the firm, Mr. Thornton served as an assistant state attorney, including as a division chief, for the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office.

In addition to his commitment to the practice of law, Mr. Thornton has dedicated himself to bar activities and pro bono causes, among them serving as chair of the Board of Directors of Camillus Health Concern, a private, nonprofit organization that provides comprehensive health and social services to homeless people in Miami-Dade County. He was a member of the Florida Bar Board of Governors for 10 years; president of the Florida Bar Foundation, the charitable arm of The Florida Bar; and president of the Miami Dade County Bar Association. He has participated in countless seminars and panels, and has taught in the University of Miami School of Law’s Litigation Skills programs for 28 years.

We are excited to have him join us!

Yusuf E. Haidermota is our latest Featured Speaker!

Our latest featured speaker is Yusuf E. Haidermota from Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP!

Yusuf will speak at our 13th Annual Circuit Court Boot Camp: The Nuts and Bolts (FL) program on May 21 and 23, 2024. At this program attendees will learn everything from complaint strategies to depos and discovery, to case management conferences, motions, trial prep, Juries and trial techniques. Yusuf has previously spoken at our 2022 and 2023 Circuit Court Boot Camps.

A seasoned litigator, Yusuf zealously represents his clients’ interests inside and outside of the courtroom. He regularly provides counsel on issues ranging from creditors’ rights, commercial and consumer collections, breach of contract, replevins, and general business and commercial litigation to real estate, commercial foreclosures, and commercial landlord-tenant complaints. Yusuf also has particular experience regarding the Federal Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) and the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act (FCCPA).

Prior to joining Shumaker, Yusuf was a partner and shareholder at a Tampa-area creditors’ rights law firm and formerly served as an Assistant State Attorney in Florida’s 10th Judicial Circuit. He is a graduate of the Florida State University College of Law, where he served as President of the Real Estate Law Society, and he holds B.A. in History from the University of Florida.

Yusuf is a member of numerous professional organizations, including the Tampa Bay American Inn of Court, the Hillsborough County Diversity Committee, the Trial Lawyers Section of the Florida Bar, and the Probate and Trust Law Section of the Hillsborough County Bar Association. Passionate about sharing his knowledge, Yusuf speaks, and frequently trains creditors, on the FCCPA and FDCPA, as well as the Electronic Fund Transfer Act.

Outside of work, Yusuf enjoys spending time with his family, being outdoors, and watching his two boys play little league baseball.

We are so glad to have him join us!

Nieves Bolaños is our latest Featured Speaker!

Our latest featured speaker is Nieves Bolaños from Fish Potter Bolaños, P.C.!

Nieves is speaking at our upcoming 15th Annual Federal Court Boot Camp: The Nuts and Bolts (IL) program on May 16, 2024. At this program you’ll get a unique perspective and an inside look at what the court wants and does not want from attorneys practicing in Federal Court and you’ll get advice from and perspectives from both sides of the aisle. Nieves has previously spoken at our 2021 and 2022 Federal Court Boot Camps in Illinois.

Maria de las Nieves (Nieves) was influenced from a young age by the work and activism of her single mother worked to provide health care and educational services to in Central Washington’s Yakima Valley, including through work with migrant farmworkers and community organizations. It was this background that created Nieves’ interest in employment law and drew her to her first legal job with mentor and workers’ rights activist Robin Potter, who later became her law partner.

Nieves represents workers in wage and hour, False Claims Act, and employment discrimination and retaliation litigation. She has significant litigation experience at the state and federal level, as well as with local administrative agencies, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Illinois Department of Human Rights and the Illinois Education Labor Relations Board. Nieves’ experience includes representation of single plaintiffs, class and collective actions at all stages of litigation, and she has litigating False Claims Act cases and large class action cases with exceptional results, including a $14 million settlement in a class action sexual harassment case in Brown, et al. v. Cook County, et al., No. 17-cv-8085 (N.D. Ill. 2020).

Nieves is a 2009 graduate of DePaul University College of Law. She serves on the Executive Board of the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA) and is VP of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion on its Executive Committee. She also chairs NELA’s Low Wage Worker Practice Group and serves on its Legislative Action Committee and is a member of NELA’s Illinois affiliate, the Illinois State Bar Association, and the National Lawyers Guild’s Chicago Labor and Employment Committee. Nieves serves on the ARISE Chicago Legal Advisory Board and serves on the Board for In These Times Magazine.

Nieves frequently lectures on various employment law matters, including at NELA’s Annual Conventions, NELA Illinois’ Seventh Circuit Conference, the Decalogue Society, Illinois Legal Services Committee for Immigrants, and a variety of other organizations.

We are excited to have her join us!

Benjamin Reiss is our latest Featured Speaker!

Our latest featured speaker is Benjamin Reiss from Perlman, Bajandas, Yevoli & Albright, P.L.!

Benjamin is speaking at our upcoming 13th Annual Circuit Court Boot Camp: The Nuts and Bolts (FL) program on May 21 & 23, 2024. This program provides an inside look at, and advice about, litigating in Florida Circuit Court. It also delves into general litigation skills and strategies. Benjamin has previously spoken at our Personal Injury Law in Florida: What you need to know (FL) program, our Depos: How to Master the Deposition (FL) program, our 2018 & 2020 Florida Circuit Court Boot Camps, and our 2016 Hone Your Litigation Skills program.

Benjamin Reiss is a partner and civil litigation attorney at PBY&A. Mr. Reiss brings many years of experience to his practice, having represented clients in 60 jury trials, acting as lead trial lawyer on 45 of those cases. His main focus areas include general commercial, product liability, construction, real estate, criminal defense, and property tax appeals in federal and state courts. He has presented to lawyers many times on trial and litigation practice, including discussing professionalism at the Florida Bar’s Practicing with Professionalism seminar. Mr. Reiss was formerly Chair of the Florida Bar Standing Committee on Professionalism, Vice President of the Board of Directors for Legal Services of Greater Miami, Inc., an associate and shareholder attorney at Greenberg Traurig, P.A. for 19 years, and an assistant public defender. He was also a board member for Legal Services of Greater Miami, Inc., and was a member of the national council and board of directors for the University of Miami Hurricane Club. Mr. Reiss received his JD with high honors from Duke University School of Law in 1993 after obtaining a BA (cum laude) in politics in political affairs from the University of Miami in 1990. He is a member of the Florida Bar Association, the Dade County Bar Association, and the American Bar Association, and has been a member and chair of many committees within those associations. He was a member of the City Year Miami Board of Advisors from 2015 to 2018 and the American Inn of Court from 1999 to 2007.

He won the Pro Bono Award, “Ensuring Equal Justice Pro Bono Initiative,” from the Miami-Dade Public Defender Carlos J. Martinez Office in 2011. He also won the DCBA’s “Put Something Back” Pro Bono Award for co-coordinating Acción USA, a non-profit organization that provides pro bono legal services to low- and moderate-income commercial borrowers.

We are excited to have him join us!

Gretchen Harris Sperry is our latest Featured Speaker!

Our latest featured speaker is Gretchen Harris Sperry from Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani, LLP!

Gretchen is speaking at our upcoming 15th Annual Federal Court Boot Camp: The Nuts and Bolts (IL) program on May 16, 2024. At this program you’ll get a unique perspective and an inside look at what the court wants and does not want from attorneys practicing in Federal Court and you’ll get advice from and perspectives from both sides of the aisle. Gretchen has previously spoken at our Preserving the Trial Record for Appeal in Illinois Civil Cases (IL).

Gretchen Harris Sperry is a Co-Chair of the Appellate Practice Group and a Partner in the firm’s Chicago office. She has represented clients in numerous state and federal courts of review, including the United States Supreme Court. As a former appellate court clerk, Ms. Sperry applies her experience and understanding of the judicial process at all stages of litigation, from drafting critical motions and appeals to developing long-term legal strategies in complex commercial litigation, constitutional litigation, labor and employment matters, and high-exposure catastrophic injury cases.

Ms. Sperry is highly skilled at handling the sensitive and unique legal issues that arise at the intersection of law, politics, and government. She is experienced in white collar criminal matters, having represented individuals and entities in federal criminal prosecutions and investigations, as well as conducting internal investigations in anticipation of government involvement. Ms. Sperry frequently represents government agencies and elected officials in constitutional litigation as a court-appointed Special Assistant State’s Attorney. She also represents private sector clients before various governmental, legislative, and regulatory agencies, counseling them on pending legislation and regulatory compliance matters.
Ms. Sperry is an active member of the legal community. She was appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court to serve as a member of the Character and Fitness Committee of the Illinois Board of Admissions to the Bar. She has served as an adjunct faculty member at two Chicago law schools teaching Appellate Advocacy. She also serves as the Secretary of the ABA Council of Appellate Lawyers and is a Past President of the Illinois Appellate Lawyers Association.

Prior to joining Gordon & Rees, Ms. Sperry was partner at a national law firm where she served as chair of the firm’s Appellate Practice Group, which was nationally recognized. Previously, Ms. Sperry was a Judicial Clerk to the Honorable Mary Jane Theis and the Honorable Maureen E. Connors in the Illinois Appellate Court. During her time in the Court, Ms. Sperry assisted in researching and drafting judicial opinions and dispositional orders in all areas of the law, including insurance coverage, contract disputes, corporate and partnership formation, fiduciary duty, personal injury, professional liability, declaratory judgment actions, appellate jurisdiction, evidentiary issues, and criminal matters. In law school, she also served as a judicial extern to the Honorable Michael T. Mason, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois and was a Senior Research Fellow for Dean Michael J. Kaufman.

We are excited to have her join us!

Adam Shea is our latest Featured Speaker!

Our latest featured speaker is Adam Shea from Panish | Shea | Ravipudi!

Adam recently spoke at our 20th Annual Federal Court Boot Camp: The Nuts and Bolts (CA) program on April 30 & May 2, 2024. Adam has previously spoken at our 19th Annual Federal Court Boot Camp: The Nuts and Bolts (in California) program and our The Art of Jury Selection in California: The Nuts and Bolts program to rave reviews! We love having Adam teach at our programs. As a seasoned plaintiff’s attorney, he brings a terrific perspective, a ton of experience and attendees always love to hear from him.

Panish | Shea | Ravipudi LLP founding partner Adam Shea is a nationally recognized trial lawyer with extensive experience and success representing individuals and families in catastrophic injury and wrongful death cases in Los Angeles County, Orange County, San Bernardino County, Riverside County, and across Southern California.

Mr. Shea has a proven track record of helping those who have been harmed by negligence, wrongful conduct, violations of safety rules, and defective products – including automotive and tire product defects. In this area, Mr. Shea specializes in bus and truck collisions involving other vehicles and pedestrians, accidents resulting from tire failures, rollovers of 15 passenger vans, trucks and utility vehicles, as well as cases involving claims of roof crush, defective fuel systems, defective restraint systems, seat back failures, child safety seat defects, airbag deployment failures, van conversion defects, and vehicle crashworthiness. He has obtained some of the largest jury verdicts and settlements in California in these types of cases and was an integral part of the trial team in Lampe v. Continental Tire that resulted in a $55.6 million verdict, which is the largest jury verdict in history in a lawsuit involving a defective tire.

Mr. Shea also represents injured parties in cases involving commercial truck accidents, trash truck accidents, airplane accidents, helicopter crashes, train disasters, and governmental liability for dangerous condition of public property. He has achieved over 200 settlements and jury verdicts in excess of $1,000,000 in these types of cases, including numerous record settlements and verdicts, a few of which are listed below.

We are excited to have him join us!

Peter P. Sotolongo is our latest Featured Speaker!

Our latest featured speaker is Peter P. Sotolongo from Sotolongo Law!

Peter is speaking at our upcoming 13th Annual Circuit Court Boot Camp: The Nuts and Bolts (FL) program on May 21 & 23, 2024. At this program, attendees will receive terrific insight into what judges want and expect – and what mistakes to avoid – when litigating in Circuit Court. And you’ll hear from seasoned attorneys on both sides of the aisle – so you get a well rounded view of your tasks, with advice from multiple perspectives. Peter has previously spoken at our 12th Annual Circuit Court Boot Camp: Nuts and Bolts, as well as the prior three years of this annual program.

Peter P. Sotolongo, Esq. is the founder of Sotolongo Law. He focuses his practice on Admiralty and Maritime law, Personal Injury and Medical Malpractice. Mr. Sotolongo attended John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City, where he obtained his Bachelors’ degree in Criminal Justice. Thereafter, he moved to Miami, Florida where he worked as a Bailiff in the Miami-Dade County Courthouse, Circuit Civil Division for four years. During this time, Mr. Sotolongo had the privilege of observing hundreds of trials. Realizing this was his calling, Mr. Sotolongo attended Nova Southeastern University, Shepard Broad Law Center, where he received his Juris Doctorate in 2002. A native of Cuba, Mr. Sotolongo migrated to the United States in 1980 with his family at age nine. Mr. Sotolongo enjoys living a healthy lifestyle, reading and helping those in need. Mr. Sotolongo is admitted to practice by The Florida Bar and the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida.

We are excited to have him join us!

Jessica S. Kramer is our latest Featured Speaker!

Our latest featured speaker is Jessica S. Kramer from Holland & Knight LLP!

Jessica is speaking at our upcoming 13th Annual Circuit Court Boot Camp: The Nuts and Bolts (FL) program on May 21 & 23, 2024. We have put on our premier Circuit Court Boot Camp in Florida for over a decade for a reason – it’s that good. This program provides an inside look and gives advice about litigating in Florida Circuit Court, as well as delves into general litigation skills and strategies. Jessica has previously spoken at our Mastering Discovery: The Nuts and Bolts (FL) program.

Jessica Kramer is a litigation attorney in Holland & Knight’s Tampa office. Ms. Kramer has extensive experience assisting individuals and businesses with contract disputes, class action lawsuits, appeals, and other complex litigation.

Since joining Holland & Knight, Ms. Kramer has gained significant experience representing companies in data privacy litigation, and has defended dozens of companies in high-stakes lawsuits arising from data breaches, a company’s use of technology on company websites, and other privacy issues. Ms. Kramer also advises clients on data privacy-related issues, including responses to data breaches and updates to customer-facing privacy policies and other terms.

Ms. Kramer has experience litigating cases in arbitration proceedings as well as jury trials and bench trials throughout the State of Florida.

Prior to joining Holland & Knight, Ms. Kramer served as a federal law clerk for two years to the Honorable James S. Moody Jr. of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida.

Ms. Kramer currently serves on the Hillsborough Education Foundation’s Governance Committee, and she recently completed a four-year mentorship of a local high school student through the foundation’s Take Stock in Children Program. Ms. Kramer mentors young women lawyers and law students through the Hillsborough Association for Women Lawyers’ mentoring program, and she also mentors law students through Holland & Knight’s 1L Mentoring Program. Each year, Ms. Kramer volunteers to coach law students preparing for upcoming moot court competitions across the country. In 2020 and 2021, Ms. Kramer helped coordinate the 9/11 National Day of Service for Holland & Knight’s Tampa office.

While in law school, Ms. Kramer competed in national advocacy competitions and won several awards for brief-writing and oral argument. As a member of the Florida Moot Court Team at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, she competed at the 2016 John J. Gibbons National Criminal Procedure Moot Court Competition. At the competition, Ms. Kramer and her teammate placed first out of 43 other law schools and Ms. Kramer was awarded best final round oralist. Ms. Kramer and her teammate also placed first at the 29th Annual Zimmerman Kiser Sutcliffe Final Four competition, and Ms. Kramer was awarded best brief, best oralist, and best overall competitor.

In 2017, Ms. Kramer founded the University of Florida Levin College of Law’s Bar Prep Mentoring Program, which provided support to University of Florida law school graduates studying for the Florida Bar examination. She actively participates in University of Florida student and alumni efforts as a member of the University of Florida’s Law Alumni Council and Florida Blue Key. In law school, Ms. Kramer received the Helen Gibel Blechman Memorial Award for earning the most community service hours in her graduating class.

We are excited to have her join us!

Kristen E. Prinz is our latest Featured Speaker!

Our latest featured speaker is Kristen E. Prinz from The Prinz Law Firm!

Kristen is speaking at our upcoming Depositions 101: The Nuts and Bolts (IL) program on July 16 & 18, 2024. This program is designed for newer litigators and will teach you what you need to know to succeed at taking and defending depositions. Kristen most recently spoke at our 2023 13th Annual Circuit Court Boot Camp: The Nuts and Bolts (IL) and our Depos: How to Master the Deposition (IL) program, as well as our 2022 12th Annual Circuit Court Boot Camp.

Kristen Prinz is an employment lawyer, business counselor, and founder of The Prinz Law Firm. She focuses on providing clients with strategic and cost-effective legal and business planning solutions to assist business owners, entrepreneurs, and professionals in building and realizing their potential.

Ms. Prinz empowers business owners to launch, grow, and thrive in their businesses by developing policies that advance their business needs, creating agreements that protect their client and employee relationships, and advising businesses on utilizing employment practices that foster a positive workplace culture. Her pragmatic approach helps clients limit risk in recruiting, hiring, onboarding, assessing, and separating employees.

Ms. Prinz is also a strong advocate for employees, including a variety of executives and physicians. She helps negotiate employment contracts and severance packages for professionals, and has litigated complex claims of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation, as well as contract disputes, wage claims, and whistleblower claims.

We are excited to have her join us again!

Agustin D. Orozco is our latest Featured Speaker!

Our latest featured speaker is Agustin D. Orozco from Crowell & Moring LLP!

Agustin is speaking at our upcoming 20th Annual Federal Court Boot Camp: The Nuts and Bolts (CA) program on April 30 & May 2, 2024. At this program you’ll get a unique perspective and an inside look at what the court wants and does not want from attorneys practicing in Federal Court. Agustin has also previously spoken at our 19th Annual Federal Court Boot Camp: The Nuts and Bolts (in California) program.

Given his background as a former federal prosecutor, clients trust Agustin Orozco to lead complex white collar cases and investigations, handle contentious and sophisticated pretrial litigation, and successfully prove highly difficult cases at trial. Agustin’s experience as a federal prosecutor and government contracts attorney leaves him uniquely situated to help clients where government contracts and white collar intersect.

Agustin represents clients in criminal and civil government investigations and enforcement actions. He also represents and counsels clients on matters involving federal, state, and local government contracts. Agustin has litigated civil False Claims Act matters and other government contracts issues, such as disputes, claims, and terminations, as well as suspension and debarment matters. He is also experienced in matters involving the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, including conducting investigations abroad and counseling clients on compliance issues.

Prior to rejoining the firm as a partner, Agustin was an assistant U.S. attorney in the Public Corruption & Civil Rights Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California. While serving in this role, Agustin represented the United States in criminal investigations, prosecutions, and/or appeals of public corruption, bribery (both domestic and abroad), conflicts of interest, honest services fraud, procurement fraud, wire fraud, mail fraud, obstruction of justice, money laundering, tax, and civil rights crimes. He worked on hundreds of criminal cases, served as lead counsel in federal trials, examined dozens of witnesses on direct and cross-examination, delivered opening and closing arguments, and briefed and argued multiple cases before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

During law school, Agustin was an extern for the Hon. Barry Russell at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Central District of California and interned at the National Immigration Law Center in Los Angeles. He also served as the co-chair of La Raza de Loyola and as chief justice of the Scott Moot Court Honors Board.

Agustin is active in the community and serves as a commissioner on the Judicial Nominees Evaluation Commission of the State Bar of California; on the steering committee of Just the Beginning, Los Angeles; and as a board member of For People of Color Inc. He is also a board member of the Federal Bar Association-Los Angeles and on the Executive Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Privacy & Cybersecurity Section. Agustin previously served on Project LEAD, where he helped teach elementary school children about the criminal justice system, and as vice chair of the LACBA’s Diversity in the Profession Committee. Agustin was selected to the Pathfinder Program of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity in 2016.

We are excited to have him join us!